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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
British Lawmakers Vote Against Theresa May's Brexit Deal. Aired: 3- 4p ET
Aired January 15, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:00] BIANCA NOBILO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: -- already and look set to put a fault in the most perilous and difficult situation of the Prime
HALA GORANI, ANCHOR, CNN: But you're talking about - you have three working days - three working days, if you're lucky you can fiddle with a
deal that's been negotiated over more than two years. There is no fundamental change that is achievable in that amount of time.
NOBILO: No, but she could present a similar deal sort of legally. She can present almost an identical deal and then make a statement about what she
plans to do next. It's more about what she plans to do ...
RICHARD QUEST, ANCHOR, CNN: No ...
GORANI: And that would defeat ...
QUEST: Thank you for that. Go ahead.
GORANI: With that kind of defeat, 230.
CAROLE WALKER, POLITICAL ANALYST: She is going to have to come back. She has already said she is going to come back on Monday and say what she
expects to happen. It was interesting that the Prime Minister herself said that that statement would be amendable.
What that means is that it's open to other MPs to put forward their own ideas, so I think that what you're going to see now over the next few days
is effectively a free for all about what happens next because this vote tonight has killed off Theresa May's deal comprehensively. You're now
going to see both sides in this argument launched into an all-out battle to get the vision of Brexit that they want.
QUEST: Wait a second. It is 8:00 in the United Kingdom and a warm welcome if you are just joining us. I am Richard Quest with Hala Gorani, Racquel
Walker, we've got Bianca Nobilo. No "Quest Means Business" tonight as you might imagine. Well, we have Julia Chatterley who is down in the city and
will be bringing us up to date with a moment of what is happening with the pound. We will look at the pound, we'll look at the FTSE futures. We will
see exactly the way in which the markets are going to enjoy this interestingly, they were not too bad leading, even in the moments
afterwards. But, Hala, we need, I think to just simply soak in --
GORANI: The magnitude of the defeat, I think. Because I mean, the worst scenario, the expectation that Theresa May - we were talking what about if
what if she loses by 70? What if she loses by 80? Maybe triple digits in the low 100s. Two hundred and thirty is her margin of defeat. Let's talk
about potential outcomes. I think internationally, people - I mean, they may be interested in the granular aspect of British politics, but mainly
they have one big question. Can Brexit be reversed now?
WALKER: Well, I think the point is that the default position is Brexit, the default position is that the U.K. leaves the European Union on March
the 29th. That is that is 73 days from now. Anyone who wants to change that has to either get the agreement to the E.U. for delay and that is only
going to happen if the E.U. thinks that there is a reason for a delay or have got to halt the whole process and for a Prime Minister to do, that are
going to have to get a halt to the process through Parliament.
At the moment, I think that nobody in Parliament can tell you what is going to happen next. There will be this vote of no confidence tomorrow. It
looks as though the government will survive that with the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party.
QUEST: Isn't there a contradiction? Isn't there - actually, I'll go further than that, Hala and Bianca, isn't there a hypocrisy in a government
winning a vote of confidence having lost its most signature piece of legislation?
NOBILO: Of which nothing unites a party like a vote of no confidence.
WALKER: But I agree in normal times, a Prime Minister who lost the vote on the main plank of government policy on this huge issue facing our country
that Prime Minister would resign. Most normal Prime Ministers would see the writing on the wall and stand down and it would bring about the
collapse of a government.
But it looks as though as things stand, it's unlikely that Jeremy Corbyn will be able to muster the votes that he needs to actually bring down the
government, unless a chunk of Conservative MPs decide things have got so bad that they think it is better to bring down the government and force a
general election. But it has to be said, those MPs, many of them will be worried about their own seat so that makes that scenario unlikely.
GORANI: And our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson is at 10 Downing Street for us tonight. What happens next now with the Prime
Minister - if we've learned one thing about Theresa May over the last several years, is that she is resilient and tenacious. She doesn't resign
when you expect her to or step aside. She hangs on and she just keeps going. So what is her hope now in the face of such a defeat for her, for
NIC ROBERTSON, INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR, CNN: Well, her hope would have to be that she is going to be able to find through, we don't know,
what sort of mechanism indicative votes, possibly in Parliament. She is going to - she would have to find another way to ...
ROBERTSON: ... bring about enough support for a deal to get Britain out of the European Union. This is the task that she said when she came into
office and stood outside Number 10 two years ago. This was a task she said she set herself.
But it's not all in her hands. As we know there is the vote of no confidence tomorrow. There is a rule saying here that potentially, she may
see that off, but what of the view of her Cabinet, what of her own deep soul searching having felt that she has tried all along to do what she has
continually reminded people is deliver on what they wanted. The best deal she could get is being told the best deal that she could get isn't
So is her own decision going to be that perhaps somebody else has to find the best deal that they can get? That it isn't going to be her? That does
seem - would seem uncharacteristic of what we have come to know of Theresa May over the past few years, but it does seem to be at the moment that the
decision is still in her hands. It is still to her to determine how to find a way to move forward and she hasn't begun to articulate precisely
what that might be.
Really, it is going to be watch the dust settle. Deal with this, tomorrow, this vote of no confidence and as she was left with, just at the end of
last week, left with a very clear construction. If this fails today, you have until Monday next week to come up with another plan. So it would seem
survive if she can the vote of no confidence, see off any challenge from within her own party, see off her own self-doubt and come up with that Plan
B on Monday. Too many ifs in there to predict anything.
QUEST: Lots of ifs and we need to understand some more of them. Nic Robertson in Downing Street, thank you. To Brussels now where Brussels
could have a role to play. Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels, outside the European Commission headquarters.
Let me read you, Erin what they say. The risk - this is a tweet from the Commission, "The risk of a disorderly withdrawal of the U.K. is increased.
We will continue our contingency work to help ensure the E.U. is fully prepared," and the President of the Commission, Jean Claude Juncker
basically says that everything will be done to prepare to avoid a disorderly Brexit. What are you hearing?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We've also heard, Richard from the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk pretty much immediately
after the results came out. He took to Twitter. He is known for his candor and he did not hold back on this occasion. Let me pull up what he
has to say, saying, "If a deal is impossible and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution
is?" Read into that what you will. But I think it's pretty clear up from that tweet that Teresa May should she survive that no confidence note would
be hard pressed to come back to Brussels and convince them that anything they could offer at this point will help this deal get through Westminster
QUEST: All right, if they won't - it's just impossible to fathom out. But help - let's go through it. If she wins tomorrow's vote of confidence,
which seems likely, then she has to come up with some sort of plan, but clearly, tinkering with the existing plan won't be sufficient. So how far
is Europe prepared to go to help her?
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, I think at this point if you asked any E.U. diplomat or any E.U. official that question, the answer would be not very far. The
ball has been for some time in their view in the U.K.'s court, so to speak. I was speaking to diplomats today and it is their view that at this point,
the U.K. needs to change its red lines to accommodate the E.U., that they are not budging on the most contentious part of their deal, which is that
Northern Ireland backstop.
QUEST: Erin McLaughlin who is in Brussels, with that part of the story. We now need to consider exactly the diplomatic machinations that is going
to get us further.
GORANI: Right. We will see what the E.U. can offer Theresa May to help her get her deal - to help her get another deal through. Sir Peter
Westmacott, the former U.K. Ambassador to Washington joins us, Quentin Peel as well. Thanks to both of you for being here. Your thoughts on what
we've witnessed today. The Prime Minister just suffering a crushing, crushing defeat.
PETER WESTMACOTT, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Well, I don't think it was a surprise that this motion went down. But 230 and almost
every single Member of Parliament present there for this historic vote.
WESTMACOTT: It was a much bigger defeat to the Prime Minister than I think anybody expected. She put her all into it. She put a lot of emotion. She
put a lot of passion. She said this was all - it was this or it was nothing. But now, she is wounded I think in terms of where we go from
There will be the motion of confidence. We presume she will win, because the DUP, the Ulster Unionists have said that there was support and we
assume that many of those Tory rebels who don't like her deal will not want to vote her out of office and precipitate a general election. But then
what? The problem is that there is not much in the cupboard in the European Commission. She can't go out rushing off to Brussels saying
"Please, give me a better deal." The European Commission has already made very clear that they've done all they can, they've wrapped that with a nice
bough, they've put some new wrapping paper on it for her with the exchange of letters.
There was some substance in that exchange of letters. But it wasn't nearly enough. So now we have a problem and it looks like the Parliament will not
go along with hard Brexit crashing out. Her soft version of Brexit has been written out of the script. So we are looking at uncertainty -
possible delay. But the European Union, the other members of the European Union will not want to give us enough time to negotiate, unless there is a
clear for it like holding a fresh referendum.
GORANI: They don't want a hard Brexit either.
WESTMACOTT: They don't want a hard Brexit.
GORANI: They don't want them falling off the cliff.
WESTMACOTT: But equally, they are not prepared to give us endless amount of time to negotiate simply to negotiate with ourselves, within the
WESTMACOTT: So, I think the chances of the British Parliament saying we would now like to legislate to hold another referendum and asking the
European side for time to do so by writing, I don't think it's now a probability, but it's becoming much more of a possibility.
QUEST: Is there - let's advance that point with you, Quentin. Is there a possibility that the Parliament decides to face down those people who would
be angry at a new referendum, but say this is the only way forward? We recognize there will be a sector of British society that feels democracy
has cheated them with the second referendum. But secretly, it's the best way that we can get a second referendum back?
QUENTIN PEEL, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, EUROPEAN PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE: I think it's clear from start that the only way there would be a second referendum
is if all possible other avenues were closed off and that in a way is precisely what we have been seeing from the House of Common, that actually
any possible alternative, including no deal and overwhelmingly tonight including the deal that Theresa May put on has simply not got any majority
So then Parliament can and I know there will be a lot of people unhappy, go back and say, the only way is to put it back to the people then they've got
to decide, what's the question they ask? Is it even worth putting this deal on the order paper? And there will be a lot of people unhappy.
GORANI: But they could also revoke Article 50, start the process again of trying to come to some sort of within the Conservative Party, but also,
just throughout the country, come up with something that will please a majority. Anything. Because right now, there is no majority really for
anything on the table.
PEEL: Well, certainly, revoking Article 50 outright would be the cleanest, simplest and clearest solution.
QUEST: Revoking it or seeking to extend it?
PEEL: No, no, revoking.
GORANI: But the E.U. would not as you were saying --
QUEST: It's a cleaner solution of course because the U.K. can do it unilaterally. But surely would agree that if she went to extend Article
50, the 28 would at least give her six months?
PEEL: Not necessarily. I think the point that MPs made very clearly earlier, we would have to come with a plan. Not to go back and say, we
failed, give us time to find a plan. We'd have to come back with either a referendum or an election or we'd actually know exactly the deal we want,
but we need another couple of months.
QUEST: But revocation - revocation takes us the closest to all the options to no Brexit.
PEEL: Yes, it is no Brexit. Revocation would be a unilateral decision which would stop the Brexit process.
GORANI: But with the promise of triggering it again.
PEEL: Well the European Court of Justice said you would not just fiddle with this, you would hold off for a considerable period of time before you
GORANI: We are going to Matthew Chance, because you can't hear them now, but for many hours, bells were ringing and horns were being blown by those
pro-Brexit demonstrators and those who oppose Brexit. And he's been following the crowds of people around Westminster to get reaction and it is
colorful and rowdy where you are, Matthew.
MATTHE CHANCE, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, sorry, I missed the top of what you were saying. But you are right, I have been
here all day, you know, momentum has been building throughout the day in anticipation of this vote.
CHANCE: And it's strange because you've got these different protesters here representing the two opposites of the debate in this country. The
hard line Brexiteers that want to leave no matter what, wants to leave the European Union, no matter what and then you've got the people who want to
remain in the European Union, who want a second referendum. They want Britain to stay in this country - in Europe, sorry.
They are both celebrating with glee this evening that this Theresa May deal has been rejected. Coming a bit closer over here and take a listen to what
they are saying.
They didn't want Brexit. They want it gone, they say. And so you're seeing these scenes of celebration here amongst these people. Just across
there, there are people who want Britain to leave the European Union and they are voting just as vigorously that this vote has been defeated. It
united people ironically this vote, this Brexit deal that Theresa May brokered and their opposition to it.
The big problem is how is any government going to bridge that divide and come up with something that is going to make everybody happy? It's just
not going to be possible. No matter which way the country goes, a big proportion of it is going to be extremely disappointed and upset by it.
QUEST: But Matthew, the people you are talking to there are pretty much extreme on both sides, in the sense they either want no Brexit at all or
they will happily go for a no-deal Brexit?
CHANCE: Yes, I think that's true. I think, a function of the fact that we're seeing protestors that are spending the whole day outside Parliament
often shouting at the top of their voices, and banging drums and ringing bell and taking days off work to do this. Obviously, the kind of people
that do that reflect a highly motivated individuals who perhaps reflect their political extremes on this issue. That's the truth.
But I think it's also true that this country is very much divided and this is a microcosm of the country. We've seen how divided the country's
Parliament is. We have seen in the referendum that we saw about Brexit just how divided the country is - the 17.4 million people who voted for
Brexit is just 590%. And so it is obviously an incredibly divisive issue and there is no sign that that division is going to be bridged.
QUEST: Matthew Chance, thank you.
GORANI: All right. Quentin Peel is still with us of Chatham House and I want to bring in as well, Conservative Member of Parliament, Bernard
Jenkin. Sir Bernard, first, I need to ask you, clearly, I imagine you voted against this deal.
BERNARD JENKIN, CONSERVTIVE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I did.
GORANI: What do you make of the scale of the defeat?
JENKIN: I think it's absolutely astonishing. I never imagined it would be a defeat at that scale.
GORANI: So what happens now for your country with regards to Brexit?
JENKIN: Well, the House of Commons has got to think very carefully about what its responsibility is. I mean, the Speaker we've got at the moment is
prepared to be very innovative shall I put it, when it comes to procedure. And I have no doubt that the government could be bullied into stopping
GORANI: Bullied? What do you mean?
JENKIN: Well, in our system, usually the government proposes and the Parliament disposes. We have a system of Parliamentary government, not
government by Parliament. This is not like this American Congress which you know, runs the legislative program from the Congress.
But if the House of Commons, which has a majority of remainers in it thinks it should - it can take back control from the British people over the
decision to leave the European Union, that would raise very, very big problems for our democracy and there is an alternative way forward, which
the Prime Minister - I know that the Prime Minister is going to win the vote of confidence.
QUEST: Hang on --
JENKIN: She's got to set out a program that gets us out of the European Union on the 29th of March. She has consistently said, either this deal or
no deal and without an agreement, we can't --
GORANI: Or no Brexit?
QUEST: Square the circle please between what you've just said that she wants to - she has to get us out of the European Union by the end of March.
But clearly, there is no appetite in Parliament for a no-deal Brexit.
JENKIN: Well, I think there is actually a majority in Parliament that recognizes that we've got to honor the referendum result, which is why
Parliament approved the European Withdrawal Act 2018, which set a withdrawal date without qualification. It didn't say there had to be a
deal in order to leave.
QUEST: But there have been numerous amendments, which have shown that there is strong support for a motion.
JENKIN: Of what?
QUEST: To avoid a no-deal Brexit.
JENKIN: Well, that's stopping Brexit. I mean, there has got to be an alternative plan. At the moment, there is no alternative plan. The House
of Commons cannot agree on an alternative plan, but it has voted to leave on the 29th of March.
GORANI: But the balance in Parliament is in favor of a deal.
JENKIN: But let's see if Parliament can agree because at the moment, Parliament can't agree.
GORANI: It seems like that's the only thing Parliament can agree on.
JENKIN: Well, Parliament has agreed and it set it in law that we're leaving on the 29th of March and presuming the Parliament voted for that
including my Conservative colleagues who say now they want to stop Brexit and have a second referendum. Presumably Parliament voted that because
they believe they had to honor the referendum results. That's my position. That's the Prime Minister's positions.
PEEL: But there are two other options clearly out there. One is this Norway option that we'd stay in the European economic area and that of
course would be an aftermath to everybody who wants to do a Brexit, but it would be Brexit, just a very soft one.
And the other is to call a referendum and actually put it back to the people on the grounds of Parliament, who is unable to decide any clear
JENKIN: Well, either of those alternatives is certainly not what the Conservative Party as a whole wishes for. Maybe a tiny minority of the
Conservative Party --
PEEL: Does the Conservative Party as a whole wish for anything clear at all?
JENKIN: The Conservative Party wants to leave on the 29th of March, which is what - and the DUP which is why Parliament voted for the date.
GORANI: But they cannot agree on how.
JENKIN: Well, they have voted, they've set in law that we are leaving on the 29th. Now, unless they change the law, they can express as many
opinion as they like. But opinion does not bind the executive.
QUEST: We have to move on, but just to clarify, your view is come hell or high water, deal or no deal, out on the 29th of March?
JENKIN: Yes. Here is a proposal.
QUEST: I'm sorry, I asked that.
JENKIN: Asking - inviting the government to adopt. This is a draft of a statement that the government has now obliged to table on Monday and this
is a two-strand approach, continue to try and ameliorate the existing deal, so it becomes acceptable, get rid of the backstop, make sure that we are
leaving the Customs Union.
GORANI: So this is your proposal to the government to include in --
JENKIN: Or carry on preparing for a no-deal Brexit which of course is a misnomer. There is a WTO framework and there will be agreements and there
are already arrangements being made in the European Union in order to accommodate --
PEEL: You've heard of unicorns? That's a unicorn.
JENKIN: Well, it's not a unicorn.
QUEST: Gentlemen, thank you.
GORANI: Thank you.
QUEST: We have so much more to discuss. So much more to come after the break. Julia is with us live from the City of London. Julia, I'm very
curious and I'd like when you come back after the break to explain, address and understand for us why the pound didn't dump hard when the vote was so
dramatically against us?
JULIA CHATTERLEY, BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, that's just one of the things that I'll be tackling. I have to say, just listening to that
conversation, I think there are British businesses out there that have their hands over their ears and screaming quietly. Pandora's Box, I think
just opened with the scale of that defeat. What does it mean for this deal? Not just for the next 24 hours. The one thing we can agree on, more
uncertainty for British businesses, more uncertainty for investors. That perspective coming up. Stay with CNN.
GORANI: Welcome back to our continuing coverage, a historic day in the House of Commons in London as Theresa May's Brexit deal is roundly
defeated. A crushing, crushing blow to the Prime Minister.
QUEST: Look at the view there, just look at that, rarely - well, never has actually that building seen such a defeat? Certainly in the last century.
Big Ben shrouded in scaffolding must be, I suspect weeping out of one of its many faces.
Julia is in the city to discuss, discover and explain how the financial world is reacting. And more to the point, Julia Chatterley, why they're
CHATTERLEY: It's a great question, Richard, let's get some context. I am joined by James Knightley, chief international economist at ING Group.
Richard was just asking there why investors aren't reacting to this? I mean, I have to argue the point to say, straight away, they were expecting
a defeat, perhaps not on this scale, but they were expecting a defeat.
JAMES KNIGHTLEY, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIST, ING GROUP: That's right. And I think to be honest, the market was positioning itself for this sort
of environment and that does with the Parliament exerting its voice so loudly. It does really open up the option for either a second referendum
or a Norway-style deal, a sort of less hard Brexit that would be much more positive for the U.K. economy in terms of business but also markets as
CHATTERLEY: They called it a Pandora's Box earlier and I guess, the bounce back from the lows of the session earlier is to your point what we've seen
here in this resounding defeat, is perhaps one step, at least, closer down the path towards a postponement even of that March 29th date, if not some
kind of further vote down the line.
KNIGHTLEY: That's right. I think, you know, we still have to remember a no hard Brexit or a no-deal Brexit is a possibility. But Parliament is
going to be really driving it from now on. And Theresa May's deal is effectively dead now, and the House of Common is going to be really pushing
And you've got to suspect that that is one that is less economically damaging, less of a dislocation for the U.K. economy. So therefore, I
think we could be seeing the pound bounce a little bit over the next --
CHATTERLEY: I mean, the only thing we seem to have a Parliament that can agree on is that they don't want this deal right now. They also don't seem
to want to a no-deal exit at this stage, too. So for investors looking at this, can you be guaranteed that fine, there is a lot of uncertainties to
come between perhaps now and the minute before midnight of the 29th of March, but there is going to be some kind of break point that prevents a
no-deal exit here.
KNIGHTLEY: Well, there has been so many twists and turns, so I think, business and also markets are very, very nervous about into it hard now.
So I think they are going to have to wait.
There is still you know, 70 odd days until it happens, and as you say, it could get to be extended, so the clarity is still lacking and businesses
don't want to put money to work and markets, we're very reluctant or market players will be very reluctant to put money to work as well.
CHATTERLEY: The overwhelming message from business has been, and particularly small and medium size enterprises, is that we are simply not
ready for a no deal exit and there has to be some greater time here.
Parliament may think they can take their time here, but others can't at this stage, too. What damage have we already seen as a result of Brexit
and beyond to Hala's point earlier on in the show, is it ridiculous to assume that decades of a negotiating relationship can be renegotiated in a
transition period after March 29th?
KNIGHTLEY: Yes, and to get back to your first point, I mean, if you asked me at the beginning of last year, you know, what is the U.K. going to be
growing at? And you tell me that America is going to grow 3%, Europe is going to grow at 2%. I would say, well, Britain should be somewhere in
between - somewhere between two, two and a half. That's where we are in.
Instead, we likely have only grown 1.5 percent. So that's the sort of magnitude that Brexit, the uncertainty has caused --
CHATTERLEY: Has already had --
KNIGHTLEY: Exactly on business, on households, consumers, and of course as I said the pound in the pocket as -- it doesn't go as far because it's
collapsed. We import so many consumer goods, so I don't -- a pound doesn't go as far, so that's what consumers are spending too.
So there's been a huge impact in terms of economic growth so far. But in terms of getting a deal, we've got to look at other countries that have
tried to get deals with Europe in the past. And Canada of course is the most recent example, and that took seven years.
And this deal is going to be far more complex, it's going to have to increase services, we've got the city behind us, financial services are so
important for the British economy. That's going to be resulting.
CHATTERLEY: So there's so many uncertainties, that's the bottom line here --
KNIGHTLEY: Exactly --
CHATTERLEY: And the underlying message here. Knightley James, thank you so much for that from ING there. Plenty more analysis of this historic
night, a resounding defeat for Theresa May. The question is, what next? More to come, stay with Cnn.
GORANI: All right, welcome back, welcome back to our worldwide coverage of the Brexit vote that the House of Commons just defeated the Brexit deal I
should say of Theresa May. And I will bring you the moment when the results were read out in parliament when Theresa May had just learned of
how crushing the defeat to her deal was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM HOUSE OF COMMONS: The Ayes to the right 202, the Nos to the left, 432.
[15:35:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ayes to the right, 202, the Nos -- order! The Ayes to the right 202, the Nos to the left 432. So the Nos have
it, the Nos have it, unlock! The point of order, the Prime Minister --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right, boy, do the Nos have it tonight. With us here on Evington Green, David Lammy; he's a Labor member of parliament, Ruth Lea is
an economist and a supporter of Brexit. David Lammy, I want to start with you, what was it like being in the House of Commons today, you voted
against the Theresa May Brexit deal. What happens now?
DAVID LAMMY, BRITISH LABOR MP: Well, look, it was the fever in the atmosphere in the Commons, all of us have known for weeks that this deal
would go down. I think that those of us who estimated it would go down by a large margin did not think anywhere like 200.
It is a devastating defeat. And I think, frankly, it's such a big defeat, it's hard to see how one incredibly weakened Prime Minister in Theresa May
needs and cobbles together another deal, but also, how indeed she can bring the huge divides that exist together to get such a deal. And then thirdly
GORANI: Yes --
LAMMY: How she can convince Europe that this is a deal --
GORANI: But so what --
LAMMY: That's going to go through parliament.
GORANI: What happens next? I mean, what happens if she brings another slightly amended deal on Monday? Let's say that's defeated as well as is
expected. What happens to Brexit?
LAMMY: Well, look, let's be clear. The next moment is this vote of no confidence tomorrow.
GORANI: Right --
LAMMY: And it may be that saved the DEP or some member of the conservative party or some members of the ERG vote against the government that actually
were into a general election. Now my view is it's likely that she will get through her vote of no confidence.
But I just can't see any deal, any configuration of a deal getting through the House of Commons. Politics is usually stuck in the U.K. The only way
through this is back to the people, and I believe that's in the form of a people's vote.
QUEST: OK, Ruth Lea, a people's vote.
RUTH LEA, ECONOMIC ADVISER, ARBUTHNOT BANKING GROUP: Appalling, absolutely shocking. We had our vote on the 23rd of June, 2016 and the people voted
to leave the European Union, and to have a second referendum, I think would be an absolute affront to democracy.
QUEST: But tonight, the House by voting down the motion, effectively voted down the withdrawal agreement. Because in that agreement is the backstop.
So this -- the House is -- the parliament has said no to the withdrawal agreement.
LEA: Well, I was going to say -- I mean, as David was saying, it may be that she'll have some sort of amendment to it either with the EU or indeed
come with some compromise with the Labor government, and then try and have a second vote.
But I think David is right, he is shaking his head on that. She might try and delay the Brexit date, who knows? Or more interesting of course, it may
be that parliament grabs hold of the agenda with some legal force and actually manage to change things, whether they're talking about the
people's vote, in other words a second referendum, so I disagree with it.
Or some other option like Norway plus -- or whatever. But if that doesn't work, we are in a default situation where we leave with no deal on the WTO
GORANI: Should parliament take back control of the whole process?
LAMMY: Parliament has been trying to extract control over this for a long time. We had the meaningful vote today because of parliament --
GORANI: Yes --
LAMMY: Let's face it, as she didn't want parliament to act. So yes, I think parliament will attempt to take back particularly control. But I say
this, there is no deal that can command a majority in parliament -- Theresa May has tried for two and a half years, she has not succeeded --
GORANI: But then the default --
LAMMY: Europe are watching.
GORANI: The default is no deal.
LEA: And in that case --
LAMMY: No, the default is no deal. It is absolutely --
GORANI: It's been tried in law --
LAMMY: Clear, you know, one thing that parliament can unite on across parties is to block any no deal that follows and that will happen.
GORANI: So you need to extend the negotiation period or go even further and revoke article 50 --
LEA: And revoke article 50 which you probably wouldn't do without another referendum or a referendum on it. But I think the real question today, it
is neither nor the answer to this is whether parliament could actually do the -- whether would have legal force in order to do that.
Because if they do OK, we're in a different situation. If they don't, then on the Withdrawal Act, then the default is no deal.
GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: Right, but parliament can, if there's the will of the parliament, they can finagle anything they want with a one clause act --
LEA: Well, let's --
QUEST: Simply to move forward --
LEA: Well, let's wait and see what happens.
QUEST: All right.
GORANI: David, you've said in the past, "friends and colleagues tell me to appease Brexiteers. I say, we must not patronize them with cowardice.
[15:40:00] "Let's tell them the truth, you were sold a lie."
LAMMY: They were lied to. They were told there'd be extra money, 350 million a week for the NHS. It's a lie. They were told there were 17
million people coming from Turkey, it's a lie. They were told immigration would fall, it's actually going to go up because when you go to negotiate
with China and with India, the last of it will be (INAUDIBLE) because we'll be weak, they'll get them.
The vote-leave campaign has been proved --
QUEST: Right --
LAMMY: To be illegal, it's likely there was Russian interference, of course, they were sold a lie. That's why we're in this mess --
QUEST: And the Treasury --
LAMMY: We've got to be brave and courageous and communicate that powerful --
LEA: And the Treasury told more firms and the rest of the country put together. Because they would say it ended if there was a Brexit --
QUEST: All right --
LEA: Vote, the economy would go into recession. Fibers.
QUEST: Ladies and gentlemen --
GORANI: I just got one point on the economics because we speak quite often about this. We heard two days ago that banks in this country had already
moved a trillion dollars worth of assets to the EU, and Brexit hasn't even happened yet.
How can you say with confidence it is not hurting the economy of your country?
LEA: Well, that was a lot of speculation. I do believe that was a lot of speculation --
GORANI: But these are actual facts -- yes --
LEA: Now, I think --
GORANI: Yes --
LEA: No, I think we've already agreed, that there would be some disruption if we leave Brexit with a no deal. I accept that, but we have a choice
between the Brexit and the withdrawal agreement -- what an offer, the withdrawal agreement --
QUEST: Right --
LEA: Or no deal.
GORANI: OK --
LEA: This is no brainer --
GORANI: I've got to ask you to -- David Lammy, you are in the thick of things in the House of Commons. Will Brexit happen or will somehow either
LAMMY: I think --
GORANI: A referendum or revocation of article 50 avoided?
LAMMY: Politics is stuck. As night follows day, this is going to go back to the British people and then we will see.
QUEST: Well, actually got to leave --
GORANI: Actually, will happen 29th of March?
QUEST: Take a leave of the -- well, fair enough.
LAMMY: No chance --
QUEST: Right --
LEA: Well, you and I, we'll take a bet.
QUEST: No, we're not going to have any bet --
LEA: Ten pounds --
LAMMY: I'm not a gambling man.
QUEST: All right, on that note --
GORANI: There's been so many surprises, actually, it's a good thing.
QUEST: That's true --
GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: On that note, let's just take a moment to regroup, to rethink, and we will be back --
GORANI: All right --
QUEST: In just -- I'm going to get a class of water I think soon -- in a moment.
GORANI: Welcome back to our continuing coverage, Nic Robertson is at 10 Downing Street with more on what to expect going forward after the Prime
Minister in this country Theresa May suffered a severe blow in parliament today, losing a vote on her Brexit deal by 230, and absolutely gigantic
[15:45:00] The largest this century and the largest since the 1920s in the U.K. What can the Prime Minister do now, Nic?
ROBERTSON: Well, I think, look, it tells us several things here. And by the way, the Prime Minister came back in here, the number 10 through the
back door, she coming through the front. That was a few minutes ago, Chancellor the Exchequer just came back and he went in by the front door
of number 10.
So perhaps, he's going in to see the Prime Minister there, not clear. But the logic tells us this, that this withdrawal agreement was already way
overtime. It should have been agreed more than -- well, more than a year ago, which means that the time left, the 73 days left, there isn't enough
time to negotiate a whole new deal.
Logic tells the Prime Minister because she has been telling us, the country, that this was the best deal that could be had. It was a
compromise, it wasn't perfect. And if this was the best compromise that the country could have. Whoever would be the Prime Minister in the next
couple of weeks, whichever party runs the country in the next couple of weeks or months ahead is going to be faced with that same challenge that if
they -- any compromise they try to find will not be sufficient to get through parliament.
That appears to be the logic of where we're at. So what does that reduce us to? That reduces us or appears to reduce us to that binary position of
leave or don't leave, and what we've just heard from your guest is that there would be a majority in parliament to block leaving without a deal.
So that seems to be off the table. So you're back to the question of not leave. That seems to be as your previous guest was suggesting, the
potential for a second referendum. This is all guessing. It's based on logic. Really at this moment, it does seems to be down to the Prime
But those are the challenges. There isn't enough consensus in the country, in the parliament to get a middle ground approved. There is enough
consensus to block a no deal Brexit. So where does that leave us? Very few options, it seems.
GORANI: Nic Robertson at 10 Downing Street, thanks very much. Bianca Nobilo joins me now. So the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has
tabled a motion of no confidence in the government, that will be debated tomorrow.
We're expecting Theresa May's government to survive, but then again, maybe not because we have been surprised in many ways today especially with the
scale of the defeat that she suffered.
NOBILO: Well, first of all, tabling a vote of no confidence is a very serious matter. It's one of the two ways that the general election can be
precipitated under the Fixed Term Parliament Act. In terms of whether or not the Prime Minister survives, I think she does.
We've heard from the noisiest and parts of her party that calls her that there's trouble, like the European research people by Jacob Rees-Mogg,
we've heard from Boris Johnson, Anna Soubry, one of the remainers in her party that's been pushing for a second referendum.
All of them voted against the deal this evening. But all of them will be backing the Prime Minister in the confidence vote tomorrow. But I think
something which tells us what historic and unprecedented times we're living in is the fact that Jeremy Corbyn himself faced a no confidence vote from
inside his party in 2016.
He lost it 172 to 40. So it doesn't put him in the strongest position, even though this is a Commons confidence vote, and not an internal
confidence vote. It's not the easiest argument for him to get a slam dunk on it if you like.
Because he knows his --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: In that regard --
GORANI: We keep talking -- and we keep talking about how the conservative party is divided. You have the hard Brexiteers, you have those --
NOBILO: Yes --
GORANI: Who are remainers, those who want a softer Brexit, but --
NOBILO: Yes --
GORANI: So is the Labor Party.
GORANI: And the Labor Party had it been united, had it had a leader that could appeal to a wider electorate in the U.K. --
NOBILO: Yes --
GORANI: This would be a slam dunk for them against this Tory Party that's so -- that's in such chaos.
NOBILO: We don't -- we talk enough about the divisions in the Labor Party because it's not the governing party, so it's not under the microscope as
such. But it does have just the same divisions that are present in the conservative party. The conservative party perhaps, the fishes are a
little deeper, they've been there for a longer time.
But Labor still has to deal with the fact that a lot of its voters are in Brexit favoring constituencies.
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: So that's something that the Labor Party are aware of. Which is why they've trodden this course of studied ambiguity as they call it. They
haven't taken a position on Brexit to try and keep voters thinking that whatever it is that they want --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: Be it the second referendum, Brexit or even to remain, that they could potentially find their answer in the Labor Party.
GORANI: But what's interesting is that members of parliament themselves who are voting on these important notions, none of them this evening have
been able to tell us with confidence what they think will happen next. So in other words, we're just starting a new day tomorrow without any idea
whether the government will survive, whether article 50 will be revoked, whether Brexit will happen or not.
[15:50:00] And if it does happen now or that there will be another referendum. We don't know anything, we're very rarely have been in such a
NOBILO: Oh, absolutely. And Theresa May has --
GORANI: And I just don't mean in the U.K., I mean in any story we've covered.
NOBILO: Yes --
GORANI: We've had at least some visibility, yes.
NOBILO: But I think the fact that it is happening in the U.K. makes it even more startling. This is one of the world's oldest democracies that's
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: Known for being robust and fairly stable. Yes, it's had its problems, but you can rely on it to come to some form of consensus --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: An agreement. That isn't happening. And I think you're absolutely right to point that out.
GORANI: But perhaps, lastly and briefly, there is some consensus for the idea of avoiding a no deal.
NOBILO: The only thing on that --
GORANI: That's the only thing perhaps --
NOBILO: Yes --
GORANI: Right, it's been tried in law that the U.K. will leave on the 29th of March, they will have to get their act together to do something about
NOBILO: What we need to keep an eye on is at this next stage, now, that the Prime Minister's Brexit deal has been defeated --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: This evening by a historic and crashing majority of 230 --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: The next step that she has to come back to the House of Commons, it will be on Monday after three working days and present her plan B. At
that point, we'll be able to see a series of what are called indicative votes. So the House of Commons will be able to express its support for
various different options, like a second referendum potentially --
GORANI: Yes --
NOBILO: An extension of article 50. So even though you and I both know that there's a consensus against a no deal in the House. We also don't
know what there's a consensus for apart from that.
GORANI: Right --
NOBILO: So it might be an interesting opportunity to see is parliament starting to coalesce around another alternative that is more than just
avoiding no deal.
GORANI: All right, Bianca, stand by and to all of our guests and contributors, and Richard will be back with us in a moment, I'm Hala
Gorani, quick break, we'll be right back with our continuing coverage.
QUEST: So we are in the field now of bare brass knuckle political arguments and fighting. The gloves are well and truly off on all sides,
we've had over the last few hours a stunning extraordinary -- there's no adjective or superlative great enough to describe the defeat of the Prime
Minister on the withdrawal agreement.
And now we have a good-old fashion political fight as there's a vote of confidence against her, which she is --
[15:55:00] GORANI: Yes --
QUEST: Expected to win.
GORANI: And when we say it's pressuring and historic --
QUEST: Yes --
GORANI: The number itself is historic because the motion, Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated in parliament by 200 -- by a margin of 230.
That's unheard of, obviously that means members of her own party voted against her. Stephen Doughty; Labor MP joins me now.
Sam Gyimah; Tory MP, former Education Minister as well. Both of you joining us, thank you very much. You quit over May's Brexit deal, you
voted against tomorrow for the motion of confidence in the government. you will support the Prime Minister?
SAM GYIMAH, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Of course --
GORANI: Yes --
GYIMAH: I will support the government, in fact, I will speak in the debate if the speaker calls me. I don't believe that Jeremy Corbyn, the
opposition leader has a credible alternative plan. He's actually been absent from the field as far as the Brexit debate has been going on.
So he does not deserve to be Prime Minister.
QUEST: Right, might I suggest, sir, that instead of worrying about the leader of the opposition, you worry about what happens to your own party?
Because isn't there a whiff of hypocrisy about a load of you voting against Theresa May's signature agreement, the withdrawal agreement, but
supporting her in government for -- and the government because you don't want to face an election?
GYIMAH: No, not at all. The reason why I voted against Theresa May's deal is that it's not in the national interest, and it's united, leavers and
remainers against it for precisely that reason.
GORANI: Right --
GYIMAH: I will vote for Theresa May in the vote of no confidence because I believe that she has a unique role she can play now as a facilitator of
consensus at this graved time. I believe motions of no confidence, leadership context, politics as usual, that is not what we need now.
GORANI: Right, OK, and Steven, let me ask you then, you voted against this deal --
STEPHEN DOUGHTY, BRITISH LABOR MP: Yes --
GORANI: What is the way forward because three working days to come up with something that will get through parliament is unrealistic, let's be honest.
DOUGHTY: Well, I think it will be slightly longer than my -- in practice, the way parliament works --
GORANI: How so?
DOUGHTY: Because you launch in, going to be about 10 days, possibly a bit --
DOUGHTY: Longer until we get a --
GORANI: It took you two and a half years to get this one, so --
DOUGHTY: Exactly --
GORANI: Yes --
DOUGHTY: And what is needed now is obviously a period of cold and sober reflection actually. On behalf of all those people, not least the Prime
Minister after this catastrophic defeat. And look, I voted with Sam today against the deal, I don't believe it's national interest either.
But tomorrow, I'll be voting against the Prime Minister because I think the government should be out for all sorts of businesses --
GORANI: But why would you want a general election? Your party is still behind --
DOUGHTY: Well, because I believe --
GORANI: By six points --
DOUGHTY: Well, because --
GORANI: Despite the fact that the Tories are in such disarray --
DOUGHTY: We are behind by 20 points before the last election. You know, and we did very well and we took away her majority. But I actually think,
you know, what Sam said is absolutely correct. Is that whatever happens in the no confidence vote, we need to have a period of parties working
together -- people working together across the house to find a way through this.
And I think the way to deal with this is going to be actually to put it back to the people and let them decide.
QUEST: So would you need unfortunately to leave it there -- please come back again where we can discuss this in a great more details.
GYIMAH: I'll be delighted to.
DOUGHTY: The rest --
GORANI: Thank you so much to both of you.
GYIMAH: Thank you.
GORANI: We're coming to the end of the hour, so we're going to take a quick break, and Richard and I will be back. Thank you very much.
DOUGHTY: You're welcome --
GYIMAH: Thank you --
GORANI: Appreciate it, thank you.